Matt Walker probably could have planned umpteen better introductions to the Flyers.
But those formal re-introductions will have to wait at least 10 to 12 weeks, as the newly acquired defenseman will undergo hip surgery Tuesday in Nashville, Tenn., to repair a nagging injury.
“Matt Walker will undergo surgery on his right hip [Tuesday] to repair a boney impingement and a torn labrum,” general manager Paul Holmgren said in a statement. “The surgery will take place in Nashville and will be performed by Dr. Thomas Byrd. Matt is expected to be out of action for 10-12 weeks.”
Walker, who was acquired from Tampa Bay on July 19 with a 4th round pick in exchange for Simon Gagne, had yet to play in the regular season because of his injury.
Walker, 30, had experienced pain prior to his fight with Matt Kassian on Sat. Sept. 25 in a non-televised preseason game in Minnesota. Walker said he got tangled up with Kassian and fell awkwardly, knowing then that he would probably need something done to fix the pain.
The video of his 54-second fight is below.
"It's just one of those things that affected how I play the game," Walker told the Daily News. "As a defenseman, your hip is twisting a lot with skating, shooting and pivoting. It's definitely something in the long run that is best to take care of now rather than be limping into the second half of the season."
Even with Walker out close to 3 months, Holmgren said he would be unlikely to utilize the Long Term Injured Reserve cushion in the salary cap for Walker’s $1.7 million salary. Michael Leighton’s $1.55 million salary is already on LTIR. The Flyers said they would rather not put Ian Laperriere’s $1.16 million on the LTIR as it could impede future moves, even though Laperriere is likely out for the entire season.
Walker, a Beaver Lodge, Alberta, native, is a lumbering (6-foot-2, 225 pound), stay-at-home defenseman. For now, the Flyers will not need to re-call anyone to replace him on the roster. Oskars Bartulis, who played the first two regular season games while Chris Pronger continued rehabbing his knee, will act as the extra defenseman.
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